Earlier this week, Saleen released a 10-K that said that the company was going to “return as a global high performance automotive brand and expand our production, sales, and marketing operations extensively within the markets of the USA and into multiple international markets.” The news that Saleen is expanding internationally — including China — comes right when Ford is preparing to release the Mustang in more foreign markets than it ever has. Saleen, who we spoke with us on the phone about the news, said that his brand is already well-known through its racing enterprises, and so the leap to expand their parts and performance business abroad wasn’t a huge one to make.
He and the company are remaining largely mute on the subject at the moment, but he did shed a little bit of light on what the international markets can expect. While Ford introduced its more fuel-efficient, smaller displacement EcoBoost engine that foreign buyers might find more palatable, Saleen has no intentions of deviating from old fashioned American muscle formula of huge power up front powering the wheels at the back. In other words, there won’t be much going on in the way of cultural or market sensitivity — Saleen’s selling an American muscle car in international markets because that’s what they want and expect from him.
On that note, I asked Saleen if he and his firm had any plans to play with Ford’s new line of EcoBoost engines, which is increasingly becoming a crutch on which Ford is putting the burdens of its compliance with CAFE standards. While Saleen might be more affectionate of superchargers than turbochargers, he said that the firm would “never say never,” and that they are certainly interested in all new technologies — emphasized in no small way by their ambitious Tesla project.